The halfway mark

Hello!

While I have been writing more than usual, and re-posting those articles on Foreign Filipina, I’m aware that I haven’t made a personal update on this blog in awhile.  Now it’s already June and half of the year has gone by. In a couple of weeks I’m turning 25 and reaching the mid-twenties mark. I’m reminded of what Britney Spears once said, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.” But replace the lyrics with “I’m not a kid, not yet an adult.”

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These past 6 months I have been feeling myself grow up, not as a sense of becoming, but a knowing that I’ve already arrived. I know that we’re always going to change, but there’s a beauty in accepting who you are, where you are, flaws and all, now at this certain point in time. A quiet echo that resonates through your entire being. A centre that keeps you balanced and gives you the perspective to weather any unfortunate circumstance.

I feel incredibly grateful for the now.

To be working in a healthy environment (with a good client) where I’m learning how to refine and sharpen my skills.

To be able to still write regularly on the side for a publication that I respect and trust.

To be able to travel far and wide without (too much) guilt and not burning a hole in my savings.

To be able to start and maintain my own passion project (www.outandabroad.com).

To be healthy(er), and pushing my physical fitness by actually going to the gym and running regularly.

To have people whom I love and trust in my life.

I realize now that happiness is a lifestyle choice.  It’s a sum total of what you surround yourself with from the people you hang out with to what you do in your spare time and on the weekends. Once you realize that, then every decision you make should work towards to crafting the life of love and happiness that you want.

Here’s to the rest of 2015.

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For the love of food, travel and social

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Hello! I just wanted to drop in and say that I’m still alive. My vacation is over and I’m getting into the full swing of the New Year. After spending the holidays in Manila, and 1 week back at work in Singapore, I flew to India for my friend’s wedding – my first ever Indian wedding! It was one week of color and chaos, aloo and masala, poverty and palaces. I can’t wait to write more about it but in the mean time you can check out my instagram @senorica where I’m still spamming pictures from my trip.

Work has been crazy busy, but the good kind. I’m handling social media for new clients in two of my favourite industries – food and travel. It’s a lot of work but I’m learning a lot and having fun. It’s hard to get off vacation mode when I’m writing content about beautiful destinations and crafting content strategy! I feel incredibly lucky to have this chance for my interests to intersect. I constantly look back, trying to connect the dots, but I realised that you need to have experience and exposure in order to form those dots in the first place. Then suddenly all the confusion, restlessness and hardships of the last few years makes sense because it has brought me here to this junction.

Anyway, I can’t believe January is over already. I hope the first month of the year has been a good kind of busy for you too.

Hi there.

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Hi there.

I know it has been awhile since I last wrote a blog entry. Trust me. I have tried. I’ve revisited my 2 year anniversary with Singapore draft multiple times. But now 3 months have passed by since that milestone and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever be near being satisfied with it. So, let’s just move on or else the deadline will drag along and I’ll never end up updating my blog.

Work has been keeping me pretty busy with a big campaign coming up and an ongoing pitch that I’m on. I can’t believe I’ve been at my new company for half a year already. The good news is that I’m pretty happy with my job right now. I feel like it’s the right place, the right time, the right people. The chemistry of my team is incredible and that matters when you need to hustle and the expectations and pressure are high. I would be lying if I said that sometimes I feel anxious, but I’ve been working long enough and know myself enough to acknowledge that it’s a sign that I’m learning something new. Maybe personal development is half about riding the anxiety wave.

Anyway, it’s almost midnight on a Sunday. I miss writing for myself, especially in free-verse with no outcome in mind. So I thought I would just say hello. I’m going to check-in with these informal posts more often.

-RF

Context and Character

Photo via Fastcompany

Photo via Fastcompany

Frank, a kindred-friend of mine whom I met almost 2 years ago when I first moved to Singapore loves to psychoanalyse. He was a hyper-observant creature, whose powers of perception made him good at his job, and one of my favorite people to have an insightful conversation with.

One night he said that I had the untapped potential to read people. Honestly, I didn’t believe him at first, until I took my first stab at psychoanalysing him myself. He was dumbfounded, because apparently the things I picked up are things he never admitted to anyone to himself. He kept challenging what I said, so as to encourage me to dig deeper into his psyche. I wasn’t passing judgement. Rather, I was making an attempt to connect, to understand and be one with who he was. It’s kind of like a shared self-awareness.

Since then I was always intrigued by the idea of reading people. I’ve practiced this exercise a couple of times since then, and was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered about people.

Fast forward to the present. I recently had a conversation with the planner at my agency about this topic in the context of account servicing, which is my current department. In order to be a good planner, you need to be perceptive enough to understand and derive consumer insight. In a nut shell, you need to be able to read people well. However, the advantage that the account team has is being able to read people (aka clients) contextually.

You won’t truly know someone unless you read how they react in certain situations. Like true-friends who don’t leave you hanging when you need them.

Context reveals character. Context is everything.

The blog to freedom

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Freedom is polarizing.

I’ve noticed two extremes. People either either buy their way to freedom, climbing the  ladder for the security, money and power to do whatever they want. Or they completely surrender control from the indoctrination of modern life to do whatever they want. Hence the rise of the nomadic lifestyle and the need for simple living. Which do you choose?

A lot has been on my mind for a long time. Usually I blog at the end of my thought process, after a decision has been made and I’ve crystallized my ‘perfect’ insight. But blogs before they became a commodity were powerful because they were raw and genuine, revealing the psyche behind the person writing it. This is my attempt at blog verse, writing a stream of uncensored consciousness, that I hope others can relate to as well.

Anyway.

A good friend of mine wrote this:

To then act upon our vulnerability is to expose the very stuff that we are made of. Bare our bones, face judgement and rejection. Understand the risks, fight for what we want. Surrender control and dare to hope. Open ourselves to the possibility that what will happen next could break and remake who we are.”

Freedom is polarizing. But whichever the path, it’s still freedom either way.

Let it go (the short hair edition)

For a woman, her hair holds the secret to self-empowerment. They say that a new hair style signifies a big change in her life.

Guess who cut off 8-inches? 

1551474_10152206471590309_941031290_nMy sister told me that a lot of people hide behind their hair. When you think about it, not only is your hair a public statement, but it’s not a quick-fix solution if your barber/ stylist effed it up. Unlike a clothes makeover where you can easily just change your wardrobe, you can only let a bad hair cut grow itself out. In the mean time just smile.

Honestly, I’m loving my short hair. I’m glad that I did it! I feel like it’s bringing back my free spirit, spunk and energy.

Out of all my Chinese horoscopes that I’ve read , my favorite is this:

“You are advised never to forget your beginning.”

My hair is a reminder of my beginning. And so will this blog! Instead of stressing about what to write and how to write it ‘perfectly’, I’m just simply going to write — freely, honestly, unapologetically. It’s like writing free-verse. So before I forget, some thoughts from today:

  • I’m thankful for today for the possibilities it can bring for tomorrow
  • Don’t waste youth on ‘maybe’
  • The inbox is a constant source of surprise and anxiety.

Big change coming my way this 2014. I’ll keep you posted.

Writing out loud

I spend a lot of weekends staring blankly at my computer screen, with fingers restlessly brushing the keyboard. A string of sentences that always end in “delete” or “backspace.”

I promised myself to write more in 2014. All the best productivity hack articles advise to “Book time to get the real work done” or else get stuck in the perpetual cycle of emails, or in the case of the weekends, on Twitter, Facebook and Flipboard. So I even have a Calendar reminder that says to write every Sunday at 10AM.

Writer’s block is not uncommon. But lately I’ve wondered whether it’s the case of 1) I don’t know what to write about or 2) I know what to write about I’m too scared to write it out loud. Humans are masters of self-deception. Deep inside we know exactly what needs to be said or done but we prolong the conclusion because it always feels so… final.

As a writer, I discern with words. It’s almost 2PM now. I’m four hours late but at least I’m making some progress.

#ComingHome What surfing and passion have in common

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Photo from Marla Santos. Go with the flow!

“Don’t be in such a hurry. Find your balance before you stand up!” said kuya Abe to me after I took yet another face palm into the water. Damnit. Wasn’t I doing everything my surf instructor taught me? Put one foot in front of the other, lift myself up from the surfboard and repeaaaatugh! It’s a lot easier said than done. What was I doing wrong?

“Don’t be in such a hurry.”  

If you’re struggling to learn something new it’s hard not to be in a hurry to get it right. Like the surfers around me I wanted to enjoy the wave. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Most of all I wanted to stop landing on my face because it was starting to hurt.

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Surround yourself with people who inspire you

But Lois Yasay, whom I finally met from the WeAreSoleSisters travel blog, said something during our Passionista workshop that weekend which applies to surfing and life in general:

“Conflict proves whether or not it’s worth it.”

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Conflict is a disagreement among two or more forces. It can surge from within you or take you down from the outside. Literally. These waves, they can beat and batter you down if you’re not careful. Then the shore you have to swim to afterwards seems so far away.

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Labor of love

Yes, it feels like the ocean and I don’t get along sometimes but I try anyway because it’s worth it. That’s what passion is. It’s what makes surfers travel over 6 hours every weekend just to catch the wave that sustains them throughout the working weekdays.

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Photo from Passionistas. Passion Play participants!

It’s what brought a handful of us down to The Circle Hostel for our Passion Play weekend in La Union. Now I’ve attended and conducted my fair share of passion talks over the years, but what struck me was momentarily forgetting the answer to: What is passion?

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Photo from Pilar Pedrosa. “Vision”

Given how much change I’ve gone through lately (moving to Singapore, among many others) I wondered whether I forgot about the passion that got me this far. Does the current bring us further from the shore or closer to the horizon? Is vertigo the distance we need to get through in the middle?

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Photo from Passionistas

This dialectic tension, conflict of truth, is what a lot of people struggle with, yet it’s what makes discovering or fighting for our passion worth it. It makes us want to catch that wave, whether it’s the first, or the next, but never ever the last. It shapes us to become resilient and stubborn, even more so than the ocean. Just remember what kuya Abe said:

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Photo from Lena Mckenzie

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Photo from Lena Mckenzie

To stand up, find your balance. To find your balance, don’t be in such a hurry. So work towards your passion, one foot at a time. Believe that when you’re ready to stand up, you will. 

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Photo from Marla Santos. Surf success!

If you want to join the next Passion Play retreat contact pinoypassionista@gmail.com or book at the newest Circle Hostel branch in La Union lu@thecirclehostel.com

Related articles:

Buhay Baler!

There Are No Strangers At The Circle Hostel

The Circle Hostel: Converting Passion Into Tourism

Other photos from the weekend:

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Always :)

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Photo from Lena McKenzie: Beach Besties

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Photo from Pilar Pedrosa: Roadtrip to Bacnotan!

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Last day, last wave! Hi Raf.

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I had the coolest surf instructor. Hi Kuya Abe!

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San Mig Pale > Everything else

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Home is Pancit Canton

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Chill vibes

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On the way back. New friend. Hi Raina

One

One. Why are you such an intimidating number? Maybe some people are meant to balance your limitations instead, lest they get caught up and lose themselves from searching for you, only you.

Below is an excerpt from an email exchange with a good friend of mine whose thoughts never fail to illuminate mine.

Gab: One is a big number. 
 
Think about everything that you’re doing. Do you think that you’re doing only one thing? Why is it then that we’re looking for that one thing that we want to do or love or enjoy in our lives. It’s like you can live everyday being partial to so many things but when you think of that one thing that will have you bring the entirety of yourself, you look for that one thing.
 
Just a thought.

Rica: That one thing.. yup. I get you. One person. One passion. It’s difficult for someone who likes to do a lot of things haha. I guess that’s why we created balance. One things… maybe they’re not for everyone. 

Gab: I think 3 is a good number. You can divide 1 by it and come out with a sense of balance that doesn’t have a definite end. .33333333….

No definite end, in a way to keep every part of you in check and most importantly happy.

Closing time

Lovely way to think of the big What If’s

Timing plays the Devil’s Advocate,  back then, until now, and always.

Seven years ago, in 2005, I sat in a room filled with kids just like me: bright, promising, driven. I met Jose Rizal, this dark-skinned guy with a semi-stache resembling our national hero, whose math skills were probably much better than mine. (Math sucks.) How could I compete with this reincarnation of Jose Rizal? I was just a wide-eyed girl with fire in her eyes — smart enough, but never really the smartest; talented perhaps, but not yet the best. Hard working? Yes, very. To make up for what I lacked.

I know it’s silly and cliche, especially for a rationale person like me, but my life has always given me reasons to believe in providence, fate, that everything happens for a reason. While I believe in creating opportunity, sometimes we stumble upon it by chance. Those instances are what make me a believer, kneeling down on the holy ground of the Universe, with a transcendental edge over Jose Rizal.

Fast forward to :44 and 1:27

Seven years ago I became a follower, in that fortuitous moment of getting my life-changing scholarship back to International School Manila (ISM).

In 2000 I left because of financial difficulty (international education is expensive), only to  return by chance, because my mother was in charge of the refreshments for the initial screening, a few days away.  A test I wasn’t allowed to take in 2000 because I didn’t come from a local school. A test that now would coincidentally put me back in the same grade, for a scholarship specially made for that year. It’s like I never left.

It turns out this was the wrong date but I found the meme timely anyway because June 27 is the day I moved toSingapore

Fast forward to 2012, and I’ve committed myself to yet another accidental opportunity: Singapore. Continue reading